Thursday, April 17, 2008

Going green?

Confession time: how eco-friendly are you? I have to say that until recently (ie, today), I wasn't doing a whole lot to save the environment. I wasn't recycling anything, I'd let water run as I brushed my teeth, I was using plastic bags at the grocery store, I drank bottled water after bottled water, I didn't give two shits about the emissions from my car, etc. And don't even get me STARTED on organic food.

Then last week in class, we were doing a unit on the earth and renewable vs nonrenewable resources. We also talked about what we could do to help conserve our natural resources. Since Earth Day would be two days after we got back from Spring Break, I hit on the idea to have the kids create Earth Day posters. At the top, they had to write "For Earth Day, I will...." and then make their personal pledge or promise. How would THEY help the Earth and conserve/protect our natural resources? And, because my students are smooth-talking little b*stards, I agreed to make one, too. After all, lead by example, right?

So after a lot of thinking, I'm going to start recycling at home. Nothing major, but I'm going to get two bins today, one for paper and one for plastic (I don't know about pop cans yet--after all, I'm also very lazy, and I don't think our garbage area outside HAS a recepticle for aluminum....and I don't particularly want to go traipsing all over Fort Myers with my old soda cans. Remember, we don't get paid for them here the way you Yanks do). Anyway, I figure that's a good enough start.

So that leads me here. Am I a late bloomer? Have you all been doing this already? Do you recycle at home? At work? (I'm sorry to say that my school does NOT recycle.....and frankly, I'll be damned if I suggest it, because at our school, if you bring it up, you HEAD it up, and that's a major project.) Do you still (gasp!) drink bottled water or do you refill the same container over and over? Do you bring those dorky (no offense) canvas bags to the grocery store? Do you only use products that are organic or all-natural? How far do you go?


Renee said...

Recycling has always just been a way of life for me, because my mom started recycling when Sara and I were little. Like, I remember helping mom load up the trunk every week to bring it somewhere, since it wasn't part of trash pick-up back then. So, I've been recycling since I can remember. And I'm borderline obsessive about it. Maybe not even borderline. If John throws something recyclable in the trash, I take it out. Provided it doesn't have TOO much yucky stuff all over it. Paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, aluminum (no deposit here, either), styrofoam, I do it all.

AND YES, I JUST BOUGHT SOME OF THE DORKY CANVAS BAGS from Meijer. Just last week, in fact. And let me say that Meijer has the BEST of any store I've looked at. They hold a TON and I like them, so kiss my ass :-) And they even have a pouch inside for your wine bottles, which should be enough to convince YOU of them, ya lush. If only there were Meijer's in Florida. LOL. I'm gonna get you some and send them to you ;-) But I WILL be bringing them to SuperTarget when I get my groceries each week, LOL.

I also turn the water off while I brush my teeth. That's about it, though. We still drink bottled water. I buy some organic produce, but only the top 12 or whatever from that thing Anna fwd to us a while back. I do use a "green" cleaning product, but only one of many.

Nik said...

I, of course, recycle pop cans. I honestly would recycle other stuff, if I knew where to bring it to be recycled. I didn't realize that bottled water bottles were such a problem until about a month ago. So, since then I've used the same 2 bottles and they'll be replaced this weekend by reusable containers. The cleaning company that we use at work pisses me off because they'll take what's in the recycle bins and just throw it in with the garbage. It drives me nuts! There's a reason we have a recycle dumpster sitting right next to the garbage dumpsters. It's just laziness. I'm definately a water saver. I get weird looks from people at the gym when washing my hands. I wet my hands briefly, turn water off and lather up, then rinse it off. I also turn the water off when burshing and I use the least amount of water possible when doing dishes too. We have a dishwasher, but it uses so much gas and water just to run it, so we do dishes by hand.

Organic food would be something I'd use, if it weren't so much more expensive. I've checked out the price differences and some stuff is a dollar or more than the regular stuff. I'm a plastic bag user though. We use them for various different things around the house though. I realize that it still ends up in a landfill in the end though, so I have considered buying dork bags. Especially since I only get 2-5 bags of gorceries a week.

Very interesting topic Jen. Given the state of our planet, we all need to start doing things to clean it up. Some of the damage we've done is irreversible, but we need to do what we can so stop further damage. Our planet, honestly has a pretty bleak future with the way things are going. The Green movement (if that's what it's called) is great, but can we fix the damage done? We'll see!

Nik said...

Damn it, I spelled definitely wrong again. I realized a couple weeks ago that I frequently spell that word wrong and don't frickin notice it.

Jen said...

See, and here's the thing: I'm lazy. I'm sorry, but I am. If I had to BRING my shit somewhere to get recycled, forget it. But there are recyclable dumpsters down by the regular one at the condo here (which I JUST freakin noticed when I started researching this stuff, lol). But there's only for one for paper and one for plastic drinking containers (not regular plastic, it doesn't look like), aluminum, glass, etc). So I can't recycle the whole house like Renee does. Shit, I'm surprised she hasn't recycled Brent yet.

I have to tell you, even if it makes me look ignorant, that when this Green Movement first started YEARS ago, I rolled my eyes. I put them in the category of people who hugged trees and didn't take showers at all and just wrote it off as a passing phase. Then celebs got involved and that almost irritated me know, jumping on the bandwagon, etc. Ive never been one to do something just cuz celebs do it (well, except for Go Bipolar, like Brittney, but that's just COOL) ;) so I almost (I hate to say it) avoided it even more. Oh, those crazy Californians and their Duracell cars, you know?

But yeah, it's starting to sink in with me. A little goes a long way. This is just a first step, a baby step, but who knows, maybe I'll be buying Dork Bags before too long. Because really, I go through a LOT of plastic ones. and that could make a huge difference too. How much were they, Nee? And how many did you get?

Jen said...

PS Nikki I agree about IS so much more expensive. Hell, they even have organic pillow cases and I almost bought them today but they were like twice as much as regular ones.

And I'm still confused about organic and how it's better for the environment. I mean I get the food I guess, less pesticides, better for the earth and for us--but organic everything else(clothes, etc)--what does HTAT do?

Jen said...

Interesting! I just read that using organic products may help with asthma, since green products don't contain harsh chemicals, additives or synthetics, or give off odors.

If you care, go here (Renee, this may help with Brent)

Renee said...

Jen, the Meijer ones were 99 cents. I bought 4. I think I'll need more for my big grocery trip, but I'll see how far 4 get me first (because they really DO hold a lot more than a regular plastic bag). My mom actually turned me on to the bags. They call her Mother Earth at work :-) But if you're serious, I'll gladly send you some. Or you can look at mine while you're here this summer and see how COOL they are. I know you're gonna want some. If only for your wine :-)

I'm DYING over your Britney comment, LOLOLOLOL!

OOOOOH, I didn't even THINK about the asmtha aspect of it! Hell, an organic pillow case could do you WONDERS! I'll check that link out tomorrow. Right now I have to go read books made of hemp, unbleached cotton and other natural fibers to my
non-recyclable son :-)

And, for the record, John doesn't care about the environment, either. I tend to think about wanting the earth to be habitable for my grandkids and THEIR grandkids. John says he won't be alive then, so who cares? Some of his irreverence is to get a rise out of me, but he's too lazy, too.

Jen said...

Crap. then the ones I bought online tonight were way more (well, not WAY--factoring in shipping, about $3 each. I got 10).

Yes, I'm now a dork-bagger.

sparkydiva said...

ok first of all, let me start by saying that i'm a native texan - what in the sam hell is a POP CAN? its a COKE can for corn's sake. and i'm going straight to hell because i don't recycle them.

i do, however, drink out of the same water bottle and i have those cloth shopping bag thingies...i would buy more if mine had holders for my wine bottles! my daughter makes me turn off the water when i brush my teeth, and i turn off the lights when i leave the room...well...most of the time. i don't get the organic produce thing, though. doesn't the fact that it came out of the ground make it organic??

oh, dear. i'm green-challenged, i think. do they have a support group for people like me?

Jen said...

No, dearheart. Organic means grown all naturally without pesticides, chemicals, etc, which are bad for you and bad for "mother earth" (snicker snicker). it also means "expensive as hell" --ie, i accidentally bought organic celery cuz I can't read a f'in sign and it was $3.99 as opposed to $1.69. Organic (ie, natural) EVERYTHING is just more expensive.

Renee said...

I think it's more expensive because it's harder to get good crops. Without pesticides, a lot of it probably gets eaten by bugs and animals, so in order to turn a profit, the farmers have to mark it up. I'm just speculating, though.

Sarah said...

so many dirty confessions.

I'm working with, and right now the theme of the campaign is eco-sins.

Please pop by the site and enter your worst on our online green confessional

There are some great eco prizes to win too.

Anna said...

Que terrible Ms.K! I'm totally shocked! I had no idea you weren't doing anything! Get on it! (It's easy.)

I've been recycling since Earth Day when I was like 10. It's easy to do lots of little things. I recycle plastic, glass, metal, paper & cardboard at home. We recycle paper, cardboard & cans at work. I bought the reusable bags but don't remember to use them most of the time. I reuse or recycle the bags I get at the store. I usually refill my water bottles.

Just start - it's easy & it feels good :)

Anna said...

Now that I read all the comments, I have more:

I like to buy as much organic as I can - I figure it's better for me & my family so why not? Often it's not more expensive in MN because the demand for it is higher here.

I'm thinking about the green cleaning products but haven't gotten into them yet.

Great class project, Jen! And way to go Renee & Nik & Jen on what you're doing and how you're doing even better!

sparkydiva said...

i'm such a frickin loser.

i think i'll go plant a garden.

Renee said...

LOL Brandi. You're not a loser, and it's never too late to start! It really is easy and it'll become second nature before long.

But planting a garden is SOOO much fun! And I bet the kids would have fun with it, too. One of my favorite childhood memories is of my sister and I picking tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green peppers, pea pods and green beans out of the garden, spreading them out on a blanket and just eating them. LOL. We didn't even wash them, except for the carrots. They taste SO good like that! My garden is too small for that much stuff (I guess I could make it bigger, duh), but I do little grape tomatoes and green beans in mine. Brent likes to help pick the tomatoes and for every one that goes into the bowl, one goes into his mouth. It's so fun!